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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who Am I, Triple-A?

Fred Thompson was a guest on the Neil Cavuto show on FoxNews yesterday, and there was discussion about his conservative principles. Fred walked the conservative line in a straight fashion about taxation, the economy, the welfare state, and all of the other things expected of a real conservative. There was little substance, but overall concepts. I might have missed some details, as I was in and out of the car picking up Chinese take-out and a taking a couple of phone calls.

Fred did say one thing that triggered a line of thought that I have considered before, but coupled with an incident with one of my daughters yesterday, really hit the mark.

There was an incident over the weekend where my two oldest children were out of town.
Short story made long, my two oldest daughters are my stepdaughters. I claim them as mine, and I only make the distinction here to explain the story. One 17, the other 15, and they had their fall break this past weekend and were out of school Friday through tomorrow. They decided to go south and visit their grandfather (bio-dad’s dad) who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. Friday evening my daughter told us that she thought she had a urinary tract infection (UTI) and asked my wife if there was any pain meds from the last one someone experienced. My wife had some light pain meds, but no antibiotics. She told daughter to flush it out and take the pain meds and if it didn’t work to let us know. Saturday morning she went to work, left with her sister headed south on Saturday afternoon, and not another word about the UTI. She didn’t even take the pain meds with her. They were expected home Monday afternoon.

She didn’t go to the doctor. She didn’t call and tell us anything about anything. My wife called her Monday about noon to check on their progress, and found out that she had been sitting around in pain for about 24 hours and taken no action.

If you made it this far, this ties in (or at least I am making it so) with what Fred had to say yesterday about the welfare state. He made the statement that we must provide assistance for those who need it, but that if you could provide for yourself and your needs then you were expected to do so. The expectation part is what we have lost in America. I hope those of you that know me realize that I never hold myself up as the role model for all Americans in every aspect of my life. However, I use myself as an example on many occasions because I am familiar with that particular situation. I am also damned proud of my work ethic, my patriotism, my professional experiences, my education, the hardwood floor I personally installed in our dining room, and a few other things equally irrelevant. I get up everyday to go to work. I wake my oldest two and I leave the house at 545. I work all day, work my second job in the evening (from home mostly) and in between I cook dinner, do homework with my little ones, do dishes, walk the dog, plan cub scouts, go to baseball on those particular nights, and peruse the blogs once I have done the baths and bedtime stories, and whatnot. I go to bed each night at about 1100, knowing the alarm will rudely awaken me at 0445 the next day to do it all over again. Some days I am really tired.

It is my routine. I do not even consciously think about most of it; it is just a muscle memory and the normal way I do things. I do it to be responsible for my family, provide for their needs, supply some extras, and enjoy my free time as much as possible.

Why don’t we have this expectation of everyone? Why don’t we look for everyone to provide for themselves and exhibit a work ethic that most of us have daily? I know, I know – some can’t and some don’t have all the benefits that others have to make this happen. Some aren’t raised in an environment that teaches them to (forgive me Chesty) “Be all they can be”. My brothers and I were. My dad always said that he didn’t care if we dug ditches or rode a garbage truck for a living, we just better make sure and be the best damn ditch digger or garbageman that ever lived. I am a firm believer in the adage that if one man can do it, then every man can do it.

Why do we spend countless hours and years finding more money and making excuses for everyone? Why don’t we just expect every person to do everything they can to do for themselves? We allow our public policy to reduce expectations every day, and this is a terrible state of affairs.

Sometimes you have to play hurt. Going to grad school at night with 3 kids and a newborn wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun to work in law enforcement and part time jobs and fit in school and coaching the kid’s basketball teams. It hasn’t been fun when we had to scrape together pocket change for the kid’s school lunch some days. No one is forced to remain in a minimum wage job at a fast food place. I mean, even if you worked hard to be a manager then that is forward movement. I worked at Wendy’s while in college. There was not a single person over college age in the place, nor in the other places of which I was familiar. Now, it seems as if everyone who works at these establishments is far above college age. Does anyone with any sense really think that you can raise a family on a minimum wage job? Of course not. Yet the left insists on providing more public assistance (MY money) to people who work these jobs, and ignores the fact that we need to prepare people to leap forward and not sit and rely on someone else.

My daughter is 17. I expect her to rise and take care of herself, and dial the cell phone when she needs some assistance. I don’t expect her to call me first and expect me to do it for her. Before I would let her leave with a car solo, I made her change a tire and check the oil and jump start a battery. I provided jumper cables and a gas can and a tire guage. Would I change a tire for her? Of course I would. However, if she is 150 miles from home I expect her to do it herself before calling Triple-A.

You and I shouldn’t be expected to provide roadside assistance for everyone’s life.

18 Posts From Readers:

Shaw said...

Just read this whole post. Interesting, isn't it? You described how just about every male in my family works and provides for his family--some even have a wife who works and provides too--i.e., works three 10-hour days so she can be with her two children for 4 days. Dad takes Wed. off and cares for his two kids, Mom is with them on Thurs. and Fri. Kids are in child care only two days Mon. and Tues.

Anyway, I have/had in my family a Naval officer, two enlisted sailors, a Marine (served in Viet Nam) and another Marine (who died recently, served in Korea)and a nephew in the army, a colonel as well as an enlisted man who served in Gulf War I.

Everyone works hard and everyone provides for his/her family.

For religion we have Protestant (Methodists), Catholic, Jewish, Buddhists, Unitarian-Universalists Nonbelievers.

And just about every race on this earth--several adopted kids, too (including a Columbian Indian child in addition to American-adopted kids).

And two very much loved gay family members.

In other words, we are truly an Amican family.

And we're all liberals.

All of the college grads worked and earned their educations--no one was given anything. They all worked hard for what they have. Some of us have had to face serious, life-threatening illnesses.

Except for our politics, we are just like you.

Shaw said...

Oops I left out Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. My cousins will never forgive me (JWs). (My brother is married to a woman who is a Mormon and her father was an elder in the Church. He lives in Tennessee and teaches Bible classes. He is not a liberal.)

Shaw said...

Crikey. I just reread that. It's my brother who lives in Tennessee and teaches Bible classes, and is not a liberal. Not his wife's father, as the poorly constructed sentence implies.

Also, my typing sucks.

American. NOT Amican.

Sheesh.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Fear not my liberally blinded friend, I am also captive to the spellchecker. Just when I publish and think I typed my little fingers off, I find that I typed something in A remote language only written by 33 surviving monks on a far away island in the pacific.

Please note that I did not call anyone un-American. I simply assert that we should have a common understanding of what should be expected of the average American.

I thank the members of your family for their service. Heroes all.

Conservative Chic said...

Love the post, Robert! I think you got to the heart of the matter. And that is work hard for what you want and not to expect handouts. I have no problem with government programs to help those that TRULY need it. I have a problem with those that live on it. Why should they work? If they can get it for free why not?

My family is just like yours and Shaws. We work hard. We are pulled between a million different things, (baseball, PTA, church blubs, etc) We dind ourselves pouring food into our kids, just to get places and it is hard. But then, life is hard. Noone said it would be easy. But knowing that we worked our asses off to get where we are is rewarding.

nanc said...

great analogy, robert.

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